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Councillors vote 8-4 to accept heavy traffic draft bylaw clause

A split Gisborne District Council has voted 8-4 in favour of a draft bylaw clause to restrict heavy traffic from using seven streets on the district's roading network.

The heavy vehicle road prohibition, if it comes into effect, will apply to all of King Road, Ormond Road, Crawford Road, Andrew Street, Lytton Road, Grey Street and Gladstone Road between Grey Street and Customhouse Street.

Councillors accepted the clause as recommended by staff in their heavy freight route consultation summary report.

Councillors Bill Burdett, Andy Cranston, Shannon Dowsing, Debbie Gregory, Larry Foster, Josh Wharehinga, Kerry Worsnop and Mayor Rehette Stoltz voted in favour of the draft clause.

Councillors Sandra Faulkner, Terry Sheldrake, Pat Seymour and Tony Roninson were against it.

There was much debate over the possible routes of restricted heavy traffic vehicles.

But Mayor Stoltz said councillors were not being asked to pick a heavy transport route.

The summary report states that the Sustainable Tairawhiti committee had approved for consultation the following recommendations for heavy vehicle routes from the WSP (consultants) report —

A: The highway route (SH35/Awapuni Road) rather than the status quo of Awapuni Road and Ormond Road.

B: Harper Road as the preferred highway connecting link.

C: Hirini Street as the preferred port access route.

Mayor Stoltz said heavy transport route discussions had been going on for 10 years.

“We have been talking about this issue forever.”

But the debate before councillors was about a clause (in the draft traffic and bylaws) to restrict heavy traffic.

Earlier, Cr Robinson said he could not “move the bylaw forward” because he did not know costing and other details.

Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency had no budget to upgrade Awapuni Road and had “capacity issues” about some of the intersections.

He needed those answers before making a decision.

The bylaw would not be passed in March so more work needed to be done.

Several other councillors raised similar points about needing more financial information and the safety of school students.

Mayor Stoltz said the council had previously acted on safety concerns about schools by ensuring there were designated car parks for dropping off students in Stanley Road and Anzac Street.

Waka Kotahi, not the council, was in charge of the state highway, but it was the council's job to advocate for safety in areas such as Awapuni Road.

Cr Dowsing said he was less concerned about financial details at the moment as a preferred heavy traffic route was not the issue.

He noted consultation about routes was close to 50/50, with a conflict between “user groups” and industry.

He favoured putting in a mechanism for introducing a bypass.

When the Provincial Growth Fund was “unlocked”, it could be possible to “broaden horizons” on a possible heavy traffic route.

Cr Kerry Worsnop said a Sustainable Tairawhiti report from January presented costings, performance, economic and social factors.

It was not possible to provide detailed costs until a business case was provided, but there was sufficient information to make a decision, she said.